Sunday, December 13, 2015

White, Angry, Male and Old

OK, the base of the Donald seems to be old, angry, white, and male. Not exclusively, but still.

And not everybody who is old, angry, white, and male. Me, for example, and a lot of my friends and acquaintances.

So why not?

I have to believe that my faith formation has made a huge difference.

I grew up in a UU household; my parents had converted from a liberal, social gospel oriented Baptist faith just before I was born.

I grew up in UU churches, attending UU Sunday schools, daydreaming and squirming through UU worship services and sermons.

I grew up being taught, and learning again and again, that the world was not fair, but should be, that every person should count, but does not, and that it is simply wonderful when people came together to change life for the better. These were not just my conclusions from observing events; I was instructed in them by my parents and my faith community. They were taught to me; you could say that I was catechized in them as articles of faith.

I was disillusioned with Unitarian Universalism for decades. But it was not I did not believe what it taught me. I was appalled that it seemed that the UU's I knew did not actually believe what they said they believed. But Bob Dylan nailed that kind of disillusion, "I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now."

Today, I am contrasting the faith I was taught and the promise that white supremacy has made to white people in the USA.

The promise that white supremacy makes to white men is that you are the equal of any politician, corporate leader, celebrity, or tech billionaire. This is America and you are as good as anybody. You are in the world's inner circle, and not everybody is. In return, "work hard and play by the rules." Compliant willingness to be exploited.

Whatever the church, or no church, the real religion of much of white America is a faith in the promises of white supremacy. And that faith is being proven to be untrue. The vast inequality between the 1% and the rest of us tests that faith. And instead of being equal to the elites, white men must accept equality with those they had thought below them.

Our work and mission are the religious tasks of evangelism and conversion. We must persuade people that to put one's faith in the promises of white supremacy is to build one's house on sands that will be swept away by history. We have to testify that our faith has not left us bitter and vengeful. We have to convert people.

It will be hard work.

But it matters what we teach the young.

2 comments:

Peter Reilly said...

I went to see Trump when he played Worcester. The crowd was not as old as I expected. It was a little disturbing. Worked a UU reference into my piece on the event


http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2015/11/19/trump-in-worcester-little-on-tax-much-on-how-rich-he-is/

Opening remarks were by Jim Knowlton of the Worcester Republican Committee. He noted that in 1854, when the Republican Party was emerging from the Whigs, Abraham Lincoln visited Worcester. That was a different Republican Party and a different Worcester. The first national women’s rights convention was held in Worcester in 1850. And in 1854 when the federal government was going to great expense to return Anthony Burns to slavery, it was the tough guys from Worcester, Stephen Foster, Abby Kelley’s husband and Free Church minister Thomas Wentworth Higginson who turned the encounter violent. After the Burns incident Higginson declared that getting to Worcester would be as good as getting to Canada for future fugitives.

Steve LaBonne said...

These days I begin to think, along with Marilynne Robinson whom I have been reading lately, that old John Calvin may have had a point after all. The conviction of one's own innocence is one of the most morally dangerous ideas around. And as I see in conservative coworkers and other acquaintances, it's an essential component of the furious clinging to the remnants of white supremacy. Unless we as a nation can come to terms with our original sins of slavery and genocide, we are doomed, because the Trump campaign is what a political revolt led by angry white men will look like. I returned to active participation in UU partly because I too hope, somewhat against hope, that it can play some role in averting that doom.